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Old 05-02-2012, 08:15 AM   #1
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Interesting Op-Ed Piece about the St Louis County Library

Quote:
The St. Louis County Library Board recently voted to ask for a six-cent tax hike on the current 16-cent per $100 property valuation, for the purpose of tearing down and rebuilding the county library’s headquarters.
~~~~~~~~~~

Library District Director Charles Pace said the library was “reaching the end of its design life.” Pace said libraries of the future needed to be more like community centers “as opposed to being a big reading room with endless rows of shelves.”

Wasn't that what libraries are designed for? But the library board doesn’t think that is functional anymore. Maybe it should put in some basketball courts and spas?
~~~~~~~~~~

But residents should not be paying a library tax to build community centers. The library district needs instead to tear down the buildings it has, and start planning to sell off the buildings, and land, and go out of business when there are no longer ink-on-paper books.
Just what is the role of libraries in the digital age - books? all media? student centers? job centers? tax centers? community centers? or all of it? And if it's all of it, then shouldn't the separate government agencies that currently perform these functions be combined to better utilize tax dollars?
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:51 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tubemonkey View Post
Just what is the role of libraries in the digital age - books? all media? student centers? job centers? tax centers? community centers? or all of it? And if it's all of it, then shouldn't the separate government agencies that currently perform these functions be combined to better utilize tax dollars?
Responding to the op ed, I think that such a large tax increase, in this economy, for this purpose, is absurd.

This being said, there is certainly a danger in this digital age to do away with libraries. However, some libraries house important historical documents. It is important that these be maintained. I envision them becoming more like museums than like libraries as we currently known them.

By the way, are there really such things as student centers and job centers. When I was a student I never spent any time in the former, and the latter never helped me find work.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:02 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tubemonkey View Post
Just what is the role of libraries in the digital age - books? all media? student centers? job centers? tax centers? community centers? or all of it? And if it's all of it, then shouldn't the separate government agencies that currently perform these functions be combined to better utilize tax dollars?
well, you see, that would make far too much sense. no, its better they pay property taxes and the like all over town, being all in one place is far too easy and cost effective.

though if i had my druthers most of those would be shut down anyway, thereby saving money. its not the gov's job to provide those things.

Last edited by xg4bx; 05-02-2012 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:11 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xg4bx View Post
well, you see, that would make far too much sense. no, its better they pay property taxes and the like all over town, being all in one place is far too easy and cost effective.

though if i had my druthers most of those would be shut down anyway, thereby saving money. its not the gov's job to provide those things.

Amen



Way to many people feel "Entitled" to the fruits of others labors.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:16 AM   #5
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Are you two just trolling? Of course it is the government's job to fund public libraries. Libraries improve literacy, and the US is so far behind other countries in education and literacy that libraries remain a vital service. Please spare us the ill thought out knee jerk libertarian sentiment.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xg4bx View Post
well, you see, that would make far too much sense. no, its better they pay property taxes and the like all over town, being all in one place is far too easy and cost effective.

though if i had my druthers most of those would be shut down anyway, thereby saving money. its not the gov's job to provide those things.
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Amen



Way to many people feel "Entitled" to the fruits of others labors.
Interesting (if knee-jerk) response... curious as to what you see the governments responsibilities are???
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haydnfan View Post
Are you two just trolling?
The Devil would Advocate that it *wasn't* the Government's job for centuries.
It was only after Carnegie went on his Library building spree (with the proviso that local governments *maintain* them) that it became the government's job.

I personally favor public libraries. Just as I favor public schools.
I *don't* think either should be off limits when it comes to scrutinizing how they carry out their mission or be beyond question.

If the taxpayer is funding them, the taxpayer should be getting what *they* need. Now. Not what they needed 20 years ago.

Libraries aren't (and shoudn't be) just warehouses for books and documents.
If that means they evolve into purely digital facilities, so be it.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:01 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by elcreative View Post
Interesting (if knee-jerk) response... curious as to what you see the governments responsibilities are???
Danger, Will Robinson, Danger.
Color-coded divide ahead.

A more topical question is *how* should local educational services be funded.
Or what services are appropriate in a rapidly digitizing world. And how should they be provided.

Libraries are sitting on many of the same faultlines as indie/local bookstores.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:03 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elcreative View Post
Interesting (if knee-jerk) response... curious as to what you see the governments responsibilities are???
The "Government" does not have any money of it's own so
any money it gets comes from the pockets of it's citizens.
So any money the Government Spends or gives to another has come
from another. (just so people realize where the money comes from).

Now as to The Government's responsibilities:

The Government has the Responsibility to be Good Stewards
of the Public's Money. In doing so they need to realize that the
money they are spending is Not Theirs but it is the Public's money.

And while everyone would love to have all these nice things the
cold facts are that they cost Money, and Real Money at that.
(and remember that money is being taken from another person)

As I see it there are a few things that do need to be supported,
Roads, Defense, and Basic education (K-12).

The issue is that many in our "Government" forget that they are
Public Servants, and some even feel the Public is there to serve them.
They then act not in the best interest of the Public and come up with
these projects.

This Particular project in question is rated at 16 cents per $100 value
of a property. So on a House valued at $100,000 it works out to be
about $160. How many families have an extra $160 to just give away
to this project. Remember those people include Seniors on Fixed income,
Families trying to make ends meet in a tough economy, as well as people
unemployed, disabled people, etc. You know Real People, and Neighbors.

I would have a hard time facing my neighbors (one who is Disabled, two
others who are senior citizens and another a struggling family with kids)
knowing I am costing them money they really cannot afford.

Last edited by Harry_Y; 05-02-2012 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haydnfan View Post
Are you two just trolling? Of course it is the government's job to fund public libraries. Libraries improve literacy, and the US is so far behind other countries in education and literacy that libraries remain a vital service. Please spare us the ill thought out knee jerk libertarian sentiment.
They aren't trolling. Their points of view is just as valid as yours.
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haydnfan View Post
Are you two just trolling? Of course it is the government's job to fund public libraries. Libraries improve literacy, and the US is so far behind other countries in education and literacy that libraries remain a vital service. Please spare us the ill thought out knee jerk libertarian sentiment.

I would have to say the issue with in the US with literacy falls to the individual.

I have two children (both now adults) who are both avid readers and both
whom did well in school, BUT that was because that is what was expected
of them, It was their responsibility to learn, and my responsibility as a
parent to ensure they put in the effort and if they had difficulty it was
my responsibility as a parent to either assist them or to provide them
a tutor to help them to understand. And as a bonus they were required
(by me) to write a short report a week, it taught them to research
and to form their thoughts into a paper.

My Wife used to be a special needs teacher, and most of the kids she
had were just in need of discipline, only One student she had was truly
learning impaired the one child tried harder than any of the others.
She would have students (teenagers) say "Why do I need to learn to read".

The student had no desire to better themselves and their parents were
unwilling to push the child to learn. The real issue is with the individual.

I have no issues with libraries, but they should be libraries, and not
community centers where kids go to check out Games. My local library had
to hire a security guard since so many were stealing Games and Movies.
Maybe if the kids put down the Game, and turned off the movies,
and actually picked up a book they would learn to read.

There is nothing wrong with Personal Responsibility.

Last edited by Harry_Y; 05-02-2012 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry_Y View Post
This Particular project in question is rated at 16 cents per $100 value of a property. So on a House valued at $100,000 it works out to be about $160. How many families have an extra $160 to just give away to this project. Remember those people include Seniors on Fixed income, Families trying to make ends meet in a tough economy, as well as people unemployed, disabled people, etc. You know Real People, and Neighbors.

I would have a hard time facing my neighbors (one who is Disabled, two
others who are senior citizens and another a struggling family with kids)
knowing I am costing them money they really cannot afford.
If I read the quote correctly, the property owners are already paying that. The library system wants an additional 6 cents per $100 on top of that.

The libraries in my community are turning into something other than the typical books-on-shelves experience. Yes, I see more people there to borrow DVDs than books. But there are also homework helpers for kids that need it, lots of PCs and printers for people who can't afford their own computers and/or broadband internet, etc. There are services to help people work on resumes and search for jobs, as well.

I may be prejudiced in favor of libraries because I was one of those "disadvantaged" kids who learned to love to read purely because I lived near a library branch and read through a great many of its books!

I might think twice if all the library did was replace the local Blockbuster, but ours really does offer a lot more.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry_Y View Post
I would have to say the issue with in the US with literacy falls to the individual.

I have two children (both now adults) who are both avid readers and both
whom did well in school, BUT that was because that is what was expected
of them, It was their responsibility to learn, and my responsibility as a
parent to ensure they put in the effort and if they had difficulty it was
my responsibility as a parent to either assist them or to provide them
a tutor to help them to understand. And as a bonus they were required
(by me) to write a short report a week, it taught them to research
and to form their thoughts into a paper.

My Wife used to be a special needs teacher, and most of the kids she
had were just in need of discipline, only One student she had was truly
learning impaired the one child tried harder than any of the others.
She would have students (teenagers) say "Why do I need to learn to read".

The student had no desire to better themselves and their parents were
unwilling to push the child to learn. The real issue is with the individual.

I have no issues with libraries, but they should be libraries, and not
community centers where kids go to check out Games. My local library had
to hire a security guard since so many were stealing Games and Movies.
Maybe if the kids put down the Game, and turned off the movies,
and actually picked up a book they would learn to read.

There is nothing wrong with Personal Responsibility.
Your children were very lucky to have a parent that opened their eyes to the necessity and joy of reading. Many children are not so lucky.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:52 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FizzyWater View Post
The libraries in my community are turning into something other than the typical books-on-shelves experience. Yes, I see more people there to borrow DVDs than books. But there are also homework helpers for kids that need it, lots of PCs and printers for people who can't afford their own computers and/or broadband internet, etc. There are services to help people work on resumes and search for jobs, as well.
"homework helpers" -- why aren't public schools providing this help?

"PCs and printers" -- why are aren't community centers providing this service?

"resumes and jobs" -- why isn't the unemployment office providing this service?

This is why I refuse to support library bond issues. Libraries aren't schools, community centers, or unemployment offices. I'm all in favor of these services, but I want them done by the proper government agencies and not by libraries. If we're going to continue to blur the lines of responsibility, then we should combine public libraries, public schools, community centers, and unemployment offices into one massive government agency.

Last edited by tubemonkey; 05-02-2012 at 10:39 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:55 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Connallmac View Post
Your children were very lucky to have a parent that opened their eyes to the necessity and joy of reading. Many children are not so lucky.

Well at the Time I don't think they would have used the word JOY.

Dad (me) was an old hard nosed sailor who set high standards for them,
Funny how they both have come back and thanked me for pushing them.
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